AN AVAILABLE MAN by Hilma Wolitzer

AN AVAILABLE MAN by Hilma Wolitzer, 2012. Isn’t HILMA a strange name? It rhymes with Wilma and the author is a she after all….. This book was definitely written for the older crowd, the Baby Boomers like me. (Should that be capitalized?) This, unfortunately is a “Slow Reader”,  the plot is trudging along slowly so far, but that may be due partly to my damnable short attention span today.  Maybe it’s partly the subject matter, it’s about a recently widowed man age 62, his step daughter and daughter-in-law placed an ad in the personal section of The New York Review newspaper. Here is is:

“Science Guy. Erudite and kind, balding but handsome. Our widowed dad is the real thing for the right woman. Jersey/Metropolitan New York.”

(What the heck is erudite?, I’m not a scholar after all!) Here’s the definition:



1.  characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly:

an erudite professor; an erudite commentary.
So here’s this guy’s family and friends pushing him to date! It doesn’t seem long enough! Has it only been months since his wife Bee died? I’m still trying to figure that out.. I say leave the guy alone! But then we wouldn’t have a story about it, now would we? LOL But I will continue to read this book!
It seems he’s been widowed for a year now but he’s still living in “the ghost of his marriage” as the author describes.
Then I catch another unknown word in the story. Here’s the sentence:
   ‘He supposed that Julie had merely caught the proselytizing fever from Nick and Amanda.’ Now it’s adding words like this that make a book a “SLOW READER” to average reader! I don’t consider myself stupid you know? But this is the second word I’m having to look up in the first 69 pages .. Why don’t author’s talk Down not up, to simplify things for their audience? So What!,  they know the meaning of “BIG WORDS” Ugh! I just HAVE to look up a new word it’s in my curious nature after all! Here it is!:
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), proselytized, proselytizing.


to convert or attempt to convert as a proselyte; recruit.
Also, especially British, proselytize.
I will NOT be defining any more new words for you.. aren’t you relieved? But my advice to new novel writers is this: “SIMPLIFY YOUR WRITING AND SPEAKING AT ALL TIMES!” Pretend some nice, friendly, slightly uneducated folk are out there reading your book! They are not all scholars! This pertains to most romance and quirky family drama type novels.
NOTE: I finished this book last night, reading in bed until 1 AM! I admit I ENJOYED the book a lot! Mom might not approved of the “F” words used in the story but heck she is 80 years old after all! But I do think she would enjoy the story otherwise. Now do YOU gals from the younger generations want to read it? Probably not! Oh well, you can’t have everything!

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